When my sister graduated from nursing school I only remember one thing from the entire ceremony. In the closing benediction the minister prayed these words, “And Lord, please give them patience”. Now at the time I honestly thought he said “patients” – after all, we were at a graduation for nurses! Well duh… I really can’t blame that on age since I was in my early twenties at the time.
Patience is something I do not have, and I will (not gladly) admit it. You only have to ride in the car with me to know that I have no patience with other drivers. I have a tendency to yell at them as if they can actually hear me. The definition for patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset”. Yep – definitely not me.
Of course, God knows how impatient I am, and He intentionally puts obstacles , delays , and slow drivers in my path all the time. I have no doubt there is a big “SL” next to my name in His book of life (for Slow Learner). When I hear people talk about praying for patience, I scream a big “don’t ever pray for patience” to them. They have no idea what they are asking for!
Today as I stood in a very long line at the post office, there was a woman behind me with two young boys. One was lying on the floor most of the time and basically refused to get up. The other one asked at least six times why he had to be there and why he couldn’t be at home. The mom seemed to have mastered the skill to tune out and carry on. Once that question was answered he began to beg for water. Honestly, if the water bottle in my purse had been unopened, I would have gladly given it to him. Then it hit me to offer him some gum, which he boldly and without hesitation took from me. I asked if he wanted to share the other piece with his brother. That’s when the mom said, “That’s ok, he’s autistic”. Ouch!
So God was not only teaching me some patience while in this line, but also showing me how much patience it must take for this mom every day. I stood there and said a silent prayer for her and (while at it) asked forgiveness for my judgmental impatience. I could picture Abba shaking His head and saying “Will she ever learn?”, and Jesus quickly replying with “just give her time”…